Brent Lessard is the co-founder and project manager at rLoop, a SpaceX award winning globally distributed and crowd-sourced organization with over 1300 members for more than 50 countries.
Brent also serves as an adviser to the president of Durham College for the school of Science and Engineering and was recently awarded the Ontario's Premier Award for his work within his local community as well as rLoop.
rLoop is working to revolutionize the future of transportation. Through open-source and collaborative design, a prototype was designed, manufactured, and tested entirely by the crowd, capable of travel at hyper speeds, enabling people to get where they need to go, faster – much, much faster! Simultaneously, rLoop is reimagining how people can collaborate together on complex and interdependent work by leveraging block-chain technology.
In 2015, Elon Musk announced through SpaceX that they were going to host a competition open to independent and student teams where they would build and provide the facilities to test these vehicles and would allow certain number of teams to manufacture prototype vehicles to come around for testing. This competition landed Brent and his team several awards, including the Best Non-Student Design which gave them the permission to build their prototype along with 27 other teams out of 1800 submissions. They also won the best Pod Innovation Award where SpaceX acknowledged the complexity of their system and the unorthodox way in which their team come together.
“We dreamed of flying cars instead we got 140 characters” – Peter Theil
In this episode, Brent shares how rLoop came together from Reddit and how this small community designed their prototype for Elon Musk and SpaceX’s project and competition. He also shares his AH-HA moments, realizing the processes and organization they built to develop the Hyperloop could be applied to other projects, but facilitating co-work on complex engineering systems required careful attention to engineering and management processes. They also need to focus on the human resources aspect as they continue to on-board new members, needing to bring them up to speed and able to contribute and collaborate in the best capacity that they can, as quickly as they can.
- We all have science fiction diets
- Connect with people who are successful or who have been in the industry
- When you’re first starting out, find your legs and interact with people in the industry and it will go a long way in accelerating your understanding about your specific niche
- Find your passion and devote yourself to it entirely
- You have to be 100% devoted and passionate towards your goals
- “The day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.” – Peter Diamandis
Productivity Tool: Find a quiet place with good coffee and free WiFi
Hotspot: Hair of the Dog in Toronto
rLoop is a crowd-sourced and globally distributed moonshot engineering organization. They try to connect the untapped global pool of talent and resources, and drive that knowledge and expertise towards large-scale engineering projects that might have positive global impact. rLoop is also the first crowd-sourced engineering team.
The Hyperloop concept goes back to 2013 when Elon Musk open sourced a paper outlining his vision for a ground-based transportation system where vehicles are levitated so there is no rolling resistance, and the vehicle is put in a tube or a tunnel where they can also control the environment and optimize it for their purposes. In this case they evacuate most of the air inside the tunnel to eliminate air friction. The vehicle can then optimize the energy that it is using and travel at an immense speed, with an estimated speed of 1200 km per hour.
rLoop uses a magnetic levitation system that is somewhat similar to mag-lev trains where they have self-contained hover engines to interact with a conductive subsurface, in this case aluminum. When these two interact it causes the vehicle to levitate off the surface. The engines can then be manipulated to induce thrust, braking, and in-flight control.
Connect with Brent:
LinkedIn: Brent Lessard
Thanks again for tuning in!
To help out the show:
- Please leave an iTunes review or post a comment below. Your help is greatly appreciated.
- If you know any Canadian Innovators whom you like us to feature, please feel free to email us.
- Listen to more innovators who are crushing it here.
I’m still channeling Gary Vee! Ratings and reviews are my oxygen!
Have you seen the new CanInnovate resources & tools page, that provides different offers and discounts. Who doesn’t love to save money?
We are a big supporter of Unsplash.com photos. Special thanks to Marc-Olivier Jodoin!